It’s hard to fire people who work remotely, as one unfortunate Twitter employee just discovered

Image: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Twitter’s announcement that it would be letting go several hundred staffers went public very quickly, with a long memo from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and the level of news coverage one might expect for social-media platform at an important crossroads in its life as a public company. But at least one employee affected by the cuts apparently found out in a rather surprising way—first by seeing a push notification, and then discovering that he was locked out of his work email.

According to LinkedIn, Teeuwisse is a senior software engineer on the company’s growth team who has been there for four years. Or rather, was. He put the startling discovery down to having spent the day working from home:

It’s an occurrence that, while likely unintentional, doesn’t quite fit with Dorsey’s stated pledge to carry out the layoffs “with the utmost respect for each and every person.”

Letting employees know they’re being fired is no doubt a job made more difficult in the age of remote-work arrangements. When a manager can’t just pull someone into an office or a conference room, sometimes, as in this case, the logistics of layoffs—i.e. closing out company email accounts—get in ahead of informing the affected staff personally. Even the phone is not the option it once was, now that so many of us ignore calls and voicemails. Meanwhile, the rise of social media means the whole process also is a lot tougher to keep discreet.

Teeuwisse’s dismissal wasn’t as public an axing as that which befell a new Zenefits hire whose offer was publicly rescinded by the CEO in a posting on Quora. But it’s easy to imagine a situation like Teeuwisse’s being repeated elsewhere. (It’s also easy to imagine both sides here are wishing things had happened a bit more privately. We reached out to both Teeuwisse and Twitter and will update this post with any response.)

At least Teeuwisse already appears to have other prospects. In the string of replies to his initial tweet, along with many overtures from reporters, are several offers for job interviews elsewhere.